MSCI Announces ESG Ratings Coverage of South African REITs

Stan Garrun, Executive Director at MSCI in South Africa

MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI), a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, including indexes, portfolio risk and performance analytics and ESG data and research, announced today the availability of ESG ratings coverage for South African REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) as part of its global coverage of companies in this sector.

Increasingly, institutional investors around the world are considering the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of their investments, as evidenced by the growth in PRI signatories in recent years. The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) call on investors to incorporate ESG factors into their investment processes. Assets under management by PRI signatories are now approximately USD 45 trillion, up from USD 4 trillion in 2006.[1]

Stan Garrun, Executive Director at MSCI in South Africa, said, “There is a groundswell in South Africa’s institutional investment circles, where large asset managers and pension funds are increasingly seeking information about ESG issues when making investment decisions. We believe MSCI ESG Research’s ESG rating signal will prove a valuable resource for investors looking to take the next step in ESG integration in this market.”

MSCI ESG Research covers over 5,000 publicly traded companies with MSCI ESG IVA, an ESG rating that indicates how well a company is prepared to manage ESG risks and opportunities based upon industry-specific key issues. For the REITs sector, key ESG issues include green building investment and green leasing at the property portfolio level, and corporate governance and human capital development at the corporate level.

As part of its global coverage of over 260 REITs, MSCI ESG Research provides a rating for 13 South African JSE-listed REITS. South African institutional investors may use the ESG rating to understand and manage ESG-related risks of local REITs. They will also be able to compare South African REITs’ ESG performance with that of REITs in other countries.